Language acquisition comprises many important different parts that eventually lead to fluency. These include listening and speaking, but also reading. For any new student, beginner German reading is crucial to the development of spelling, grammar and to help learn German words. This in turn leads to the improvement of writing skills, which are also an essential part of understanding a language.

Every language has unique spelling and grammar rules, and for beginners, being able to adopt these tools go a long way. This is especially true for students of German, as it is one of the European languages that use many compound words that join in creating new, long ones.

This article addresses some of the fundamental tools available to learn German vocabulary. Some of these focus on how to learn German words through beginner German reading that will not overwhelm you and build your confidence.

One of the main reasons why it is so important to learn German through stories is that it directly impacts writing ability, another equally important language acquisition tool. This is how unfamiliar words become familiar and language makes sense in context.

So while it is vital to take up any form of beginner German reading, is important to remember that this is only one modality to help you acquire the language. Don’t forget to hone in on developing your speaking, writing, and listening skills too.

Simple Newspapers to Learn German Words

If you are a German language student, something to incorporate into your lifestyle could be the reading of basic newspapers. As a supplement, beginner German reading can come in many forms.  Reading the right sort of daily or weekly newspapers is certainly one way to kill two birds with one stone because you will be able to learn German vocabulary and stay up to date with current affairs at the same time.

You can expect the kinds of words to be found through the reading of newspapers to be practical and helpful in terms of having practical and basic conversations. It’s likely that you could also learn German words that would be found on signs in and around most German cities and villages.

That said, don’t put yourself off by picking up the German equivalent of the Financial Mail or Mail & Guardian. What you could do is head for the sections of any newspaper that are best suited for beginner German reading.

And when it comes to the average weekly newspaper, like the German version of the Sunday Times,  for instance, skip the business and politics sections and head to the lifestyle magazine insert, or find the pages aimed at young learners.

Also, try and read pages that would normally interest you. If for example, you like baking, cooking, DIY, or gardening, read those sections as you are likely to persevere if the content is of interest to you. This is truly one of the most practical, real-life solutions to learn German words. You could tackle this exercise armed with a pen or highlighter and a dictionary to make it immensely worthwhile.

A few examples of websites that are appropriate for beginner German reading are Nachrichtenleicht which is known for its simple style and tonality. There’s also Logo which is a site aimed at children. It offers the perfect stories in German for beginners because of its simple terminology and many graphics. The German version of the Huffington Post is also worth recommending because of its attention-grabbing content, even if it is slightly more complex.

Books and Textbooks to Learn German Vocabulary

If you want to learn German through stories, one of the best ways to do this is to read a novel in German at your own pace. It’s also really helpful to be able to read paragraphs repeatedly until the words, context, and syntax are understood.

Try and stick to stories in German for beginners if you are not yet advanced in your studies. When you are learning a brand new foreign language, there is no shame in even reading stories that are aimed at children and teenagers.

Some would even say that reading a German book from start to finish is even more beneficial than what you will find in your textbooks! One of the main reasons for this is because you don’t have guidance and answers supplied, you will have to work harder to learn German words by using your dictionary. All of this means that you will need to put more effort into your reading which of course will mean greater rewards.

Similarly, to audiobooks, when it comes to selecting a novel, this is really up to your personal preference. The best advice is to find stories in German for beginners that covers a topic that interests you and will keep you reading.

If you are also taking German lessons, your tutor could certainly recommend how to learn German through stories that interest you. If you are looking for fiction reading there are websites and apps like DuoLIngo and Good Reads that recommend stories in German for beginners. Sites like these often include reviews by people who have been studying German or finding ways to learn German vocabulary through books.

Regarding textbooks, they should still form the foundation of your German reading material. Remember that they are very carefully put together by language specialists and are formulated to guide you along a path that will help you to learn German in a very specific way. Through the written word, your textbooks will inform you and provide language study experts that have been put together by experts.

Using textbooks to educate you in German will include professionally-designed curriculums that will ensure that all your senses are used. They will incorporate speaking, writing, listening, and reading. When choosing a German textbook, make sure that you select one at the level that you are working at. You wouldn’t want to choose content that is aimed at beginners when you are already an intermediate or advanced student.

Incorporate German Blogs and Social Media into Your Learning

The great benefit of following language study blogs is that they are usually written by individuals who have been through a similar process to the one you are following. Just reading their content will help you to learn German through stories. Probably the kind of story that you are currently in yourself!

Every blog is unique in style and content, much like a library of books or articles. Follow writers who appeal to you in terms of style and tonality, as well as the types of topics they cover.

An extraordinary example of a language blog is Fluent in Three Months which is about a polyglot (someone who is fluent in many languages) who has a passion for learning languages. Remarkably, the linguist, and indeed author, of this blog believes that a new language can be acquired in the space of only three months. Of course, this caveat to this is that an achievement like that requires much dedication and work. This blogger makes strong points about not only changing one’s mindset in order to achieve this but also immersing yourself in the language that you want to learn to speak.

If you are unable to suddenly immerse yourself in a German city or town though, the claim is that you can still benefit by taking your existing surroundings and then turning them into a mini-Germany!

Fluent in Three Months is full of language tips and recommendations on how to learn German through stories – sometimes unexpected stories!

For a blog with more educational-type content, check out Daily German which has been designed to take on the disguise of an actual course. Subscribers receive helpful tips and updates on a daily basis. Not only does this blog feature free tutorials and lessons but it will also help you to learn German vocabulary because it features a word for every day!

Finally, if you really want to learn German through stories, social media in its bite-sized appeal and addictive formats could turn your guilty pleasure into something extremely useful! Most people these days spend much of their day on ‘screen time’ – so why not use some of this to learn a new language like German?

The greatest benefit to following German language social media accounts is that it requires very little effort and motivation. By simply adding the right follows to your social media daily diet, so to speak, you will be increasing your knowledge without even realising it!

If you are a Twitter fan, here are some recommended follows that is perfect for German beginners:

  • @LearnXDGerman – this account tweets in German and repeats the same tweet five minutes later in English.
  • @dw_learngerman – an account that teaches German lessons in less than 140 characters.

If this sounds crazy, why not check it out and give it a go? Remember that your German classes don’t necessarily have to be confined to a classroom, so go on and have some fun. Viel Glük!

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Niki is a content writer from Cape Town, South Africa, who is passionate about words, strategic communication and using words to help create and maintain brand personas. Niki has a PR and marketing background, but her happiest place is when she is bringing a story to life on a page.